cover image Little Libraries, Big Heroes

Little Libraries, Big Heroes

Miranda Paul, illus. by John Parra. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-80027-4

Paul (Nine Months) frames her nonfiction account of Little Free Libraries as a story about ordinary heroes. After Todd Bol’s librarian mother dies, he creates a small one-room schoolhouse on a stand and fills it with books to share her “love of reading with anyone who passed by.” But no one notices until he explains it to his neighbors, after which the “little library became the center of their neighborhood.” Bol’s friend Rick Brooks helps him dream bigger: Parra (Hey, Wall) shows the two of them talking excitedly, angular figures on pages textured like woodblock prints. They build many of the structures and, when they can’t sell them, install them all over the upper Midwest. Now there are thousands, all over the world. Paul writes of the way Bol’s mother encouraged him as a child (“You could do anything,” she tells him in the story’s opening pages, a warm smile on her face) and finishes by nudging readers: “Tomorrow might bring another hero story, written by YOU.” The way the text traces Bol’s big idea back to its emotional source offers a path to heroes literary and ordinary both. Ages 4–7. Author’s agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Adriana Dominguez and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. [em](Sept.) [/em] Correction: A previous version of this review understated the number of Little Free Libraries in existence.